Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson said Tuesday that the United States “should be pleased” about Russia annexing the Crimea, calling it “a virtually bloodless transfer of power.”
At a Foreign Affairs Committee mark-up Tuesday, Grayson said that the referendum in Crimea was the entirely legitimate vote by a group of people who were upset that their chosen leader, ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, had been removed from office. The role of Russian forces, in his telling, was simply that of peacekeeper.
“You may say that [Yanukovych] was thrown out of office for good reason. There are allegations against him that he was corrupt, there are allegations against him that he used the military against his own people to stay in power. But the fact is that from the perspective of the Crimeans, their leader, the one that they placed in charge of their country, was thrown out of power,” Grayson said. “So it should come as no surprise … that the Crimeans had had enough, and they wanted to leave this artificial entity called the Ukraine.”
“Now, in fact, the Russians did assist, they assisted by disarming the local Ukrainian army and navy. That’s what they did. They did it virtually bloodlessly. They did this so that the Ukrainian army and navy could not interfere with the referendum that was held. That’s the fact of the matter,” Grayson said.
“Why are we pretending otherwise? Why are we speaking about naked aggression, why are we speaking about stealing Crimea, why are we speaking about bullying, or the new Soviet Union, or thuggery, or audacious power grabbing, or bully bear Putin, or Cold War two?” Grayson went on.
“This is not some new Cold War that’s occurring,” he said. “In fact it’s quite the contrary. We should be pleased to see, pleased to see, when a virtually bloodless transfer of power establishes self determination for two million people somewhere in the world, anywhere in world. And in fact what we’re seeing here instead, is the vilification of Putin, the vilification of Yanukovych, the vilification of anybody that we try to identify as our enemy.”
“The basic principle here is self determination,” Grayson said. “That’s what’s happened in the Crimea, and it’s not for us to determine otherwise.”
See Grayson’s full remarks here: